What are Different Types of Elastic Hair Bands?

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Elastic hair bands are the best way to secure ponytails and braids. The type you use may help keep your style in place without causing unnecessary damage to the hair.

When a braid is finished, it can be secured with an elastic ponytail holder.
When a braid is finished, it can be secured with an elastic ponytail holder.

There are two very simple forms of bands, which may be okay for use on braids, but should be avoided for securing long ponytails. The simple rubber band, which can often be purchased in bulk quantities, is not very decorative, particularly if you pull it off the newspaper. Elastic hair bands that are joined by a small metal bar to complete the circle, also have issues. Both types are very likely to get tangled in your hair, and the higher up you place then in the hair, the more likely you will have difficulty removing them. They may work well at the end of a braid because there is little hair to tangle. Securing a long ponytail with one is nightmarish, as removal may rip the hair.

If your hair becomes entangled in this sort of band, don’t pull on the band. Instead, give up the band for lost and cut the band off with scissors. You may need to make several cuts to completely disentangle the hair, but it certainly beats pulling your hair out by the roots.

Some elastic hair bands are joined with two plastic balls, which make them perfect for looping over several times to secure small amounts of hair. You often find these types available for little girls and they are not effective for holding a lot of hair, though they work well for braids.

If you simply want a plain elastic hair band to hold a ponytail, look for the variety that says “no damage.” These are usually simple rings of elastic covered in fabric, and may again be purchased in bulk. They also come in different diameters, and some are even graded for used with different hair types, like fine, thick, etcetera. These types of hair bands tend not to get caught in the hair and are far easier to remove. Additionally, they have excellent hold, and will keep your hair safely in its style.

As well as no damage elastic hair bands, those made of nylon tend to be relatively hair friendly too, and may come in a variety of colors which can be chosen to fit outfits. They tend not to form as good of a hold as the elastic variety, however.

Scrunchies, which are elastic bands covered by loose scrunched up fabric, are not as much worn currently as they are considered out of fashion. However, they are still obtainable in a variety of styles and colors. They are certainly the most comfortable elastic hair bands to wear and virtually assure no pulling if placed on the hair correctly. They may need to be looped several times if you want a tight ponytail, and may not form as tight a ponytail as you would get with a no damage band.

The last types of elastic hair bands are decorative. They may have fake flowers, bows, or snoods. These bands usually are the no damage type, but the extras of the style may get caught in the hair. One can find different styles at beauty stores, department stores, and on the Internet. They do make a nice change from the simple band.

Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen

Tricia has a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and has been a frequent wiseGEEK contributor for many years. She is especially passionate about reading and writing, although her other interests include medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion. Tricia lives in Northern California and is currently working on her first novel.

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Discussion Comments


I never even thought about how many kinds of elastic bands there are for hair -- and it was nice to remember the scrunchee. I used to wear them two at a time in my ponytail when I was in elementary school.

Very nicely done, thank you.


As a blonde-haired girl, clear elastic hair bands are my best friend when it comes to subtle styling -- black or brown bands can look really messy if you are trying to make a smooth, unified look.

They also make clear bobby pins, so you can get the perfect style without having to try to hide the band or pins.


If you want to spice up your pony tail a little, you can try a braided elastic band. Some even come in headband lengths, so it can work just as well as an accessory as a practical hair band.


The small elastic hair bands (made by "Goodee?") seem to have recently vanished from the shelves of Longs (now CVS) and Walgreens Drugs in Northern California. Any ideas for sources? Cheers.

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